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Chapter 1

GAS MATERIAL BALANCE


1.1 Introduction
Material balance is the application of the law of conservation of mass to oil and gas
reservoirs and aquifers. It is based on the premise that reservoir space voided by
production is immediately and completely filled by the expansion of remaining fluids and
rock. As demonstrated later in this chapter, material balance is a useful engineering
method for understanding a reservoir's past performance and predicting its future
potential.
To understand and analyze gas reservoirs, the following conditions will be applied.
1. Reservoir hydrocarbon fluids are in phase equilibrium at all times, and
equilibrium is achieved instantaneously after any pressure change;
2. The reservoir can be represented by a single, weighted pressure average at any
time (Pressure gradients in the reservoir cannot be considered by the method.)
3. Fluid saturations are uniform throughout the reservoir at any time (Saturation
gradients cannot be handled.)
4. Conventional PVT relationships for normal gas are applicable and are sufficient
to describe fluid phase behavior in the reservoir.
Material balance calculations can be used to:
1. Determine original oil and gas in place in the reservoir;
2. Determine original water in place in the aquifer;
3. Estimate expected oil and gas recoveries as a function of pressure decline in a
closed reservoir producing by depletion drive, or as a function of water
influx in a water-drive reservoir;
4. Predict future behavior of a reservoir (production rates, pressure decline,
and water influx);
5. Verify volumetric estimates of original fluids in place;
6. Verify future production rates and recoveries predicted by decline-curve analysis;
7. Determine which primary producing drive mechanisms are responsible for a
reservoir's observed behavior, and quantify the relative importance of each
mechanism;
8. Evaluate the effectiveness of a water drive;
9. Study the interference of fields sharing a common aquifer.
Data requirements to accurately apply the material balance method consists of: (1)
cumulative fluid production at several times (cumulative oil, gas, and water); (2) average
reservoir pressures at the same times, averaged accurately over the entire reservoir; (3)
fluid PVT data at each reservoir pressure as well as formation compressibility.

1.1

1.2 Basic concepts


The general material-balance equation for a depletion-drive gas reservoir, neglecting
water and formation compressibilities is expressed by:
p pi G p
=
1
(1.1)
z zi
G

It is one of the most often used relationships in gas reservoir engineering. It is usually
valid enough to provide excellent estimates of original gas-in-place based on observed
production, pressure, and PVT data.
During the life of a gas reservoir, cumulative production is recorded, and average
reservoir pressures are periodically measured. At each measured reservoir pressure the
gas z-factor is determined to calculate P/z, and the result plotted as shown in Figure 1.1
below. Notice that Equation 1.1 results in a linear relationship between P/z and Gp. That
is, as gas is produced from the reservoir, the ratio P/z should decline linearly for a
volumetric reservoir. Note that for an ideal gas, pressure alone would decline linearly.
4000

(p/z)i

3500
Last measured
data point

p/z, psia

3000
2500
2000

extrapolate

1500
1000
(p/z)a
500

G=10 Bscf

Gpa=8.5 Bscf

0
0

10

11

12

Cumulative gas produced,Bscf

Figure 1.1 Example of linear relationship between p/z and gas produced for a volumetric
reservoir.

1.2

Example 1.1
Determine the original gas-in-place and ultimate recovery at an abandonment pressure of
500 psia for the following reservoir.
Gas specific gravity
= 0.70
Reservoir temperature
= 150F
Original reservoir pressure
= 3000 psia
Abandonment reservoir pressure = 500 psia
Production and pressure history as shown in the following table.
Gp, mmscf
0
580
1390
3040

P, psia
3000
2800
2550
2070

z,
p/z, psia
0.822
3650
0.816
3431
0.810
3148
0.815
2540

Steps:
Determine z-factor and calculate P/z.
Plot P/z versus GP. (Example shown in Fig. 1.1)
Draw a straight line through the data points.
Extrapolate the straight line to p/z = 0, where Gp must equal G, the OGIP.
From Figure 1.1 G = 10.0 Bscf.
5) Ultimate recovery is estimated from an abandonment pressure of 500 psia
and z = 0.945, thus (p/z)a = 529 psia. From Fiqure 1.1, the ultimate
recovery is estimated to be 8.5 Bscf, or 85% of the OGIP.
1)
2)
3)
4)

In the example, the data points formed a easily-recognizable straight 1ine, but in practice
this may not always be the case. Theoretically, there should be a linear relationship
between p/z and G. However, in practice there are several factors that may cause the
relationship to be nonlinear. Formation compressibility may be significant, as in an
unconsolidated sand reservoir. If this extra stored energy is not accounted for, the
measured data points will be extrapolated to an optimistically high value of OGIP. In the
example, if the reservoir actually had an OGIP of 10.0 Bscf, but the formation was
unconsolidated and had significant compressibility, the three measured reservoir
pressures after production had begun would have been greater, and extrapolation to OGIP
would have exceeded 10.0 Bscf. Secondly, average reservoir pressure may not have been
accurately determined. This is a common problem, and the plot of p/z versus Gp
frequently shows more fluctuations from a straight line than in Figure 1.1. Finally, if a
water drive were acting on the gas reservoir, pressure support would occur and the plot of
p/z versus Gp would give an overly optimistic OGIP.
In this example the recovery factor was estimated simply by the ratio of ultimate recovery
to the original gas-in-place. Alternatively, it is possible to estimate ultimate recovery
efficiency (RE) in a depletion-drive gas reservoir with negligible water and formation
compressibilities by:

1.3


B gi
= 1
RFvol = 1
B ga

p a zi
z a pi

(1.2)

For the example, ultimate recovery efficiency can be estimated from Equation (1.2),
529

RFvol = 1
= 85% of OGIP
3650

The decision on selection of an appropriate abandonment pressure is dependent on


operational considerations, reservoir variables and economics. In general, the higher the
reservoir permeability the lower the abandonment pressure. However, in tight gas sands,
where permeability is in the milli- to microdarcy range, abandonment pressures are being
reduced by a variety of methods targeting bottomhole flowing pressure. These methods
can be on the surface, such as adding compression, or in the wellbore, such as adding
plunger lift or capillary tubes. The added benefit can be quite substantial. For instance,
in the previous example if the abandonment pressure could be reduced in half, the
incremental gain in recovery would be approximately 1 Bscf.

1.3 Advanced Topics


The previous section provides the basic concepts in material balance for simple,
volumetric gas reservoirs. However, nonlinearity can occur in the p/z vs Gp relationship
as a result of water influx, or changes in rock and water compressibilities in geopressured
reservoirs, or the inability to achieve average reservoir pressure such as in low
permeability reservoirs.
A comprehensive form of the gas material balance equation is given by:
p
1 c e( p ) ( p i p ) =
z
(1.3)

1
p (p / z )i
Wp B w WinjB w We
G p G inj + Wp R sw +

G
Bg
z i

where Ginj and Winj are gas and water injection, respectively; Rsw is solution gas in the
water phase, and ce(p) is an average effective compressibility term. From this general
material balance equation we will investigate the affects of water influx, rock/water
compressibilities and low-permeability systems.

1.3.1 Water-drive Gas Reservoir

The impact of water influx is to provide pressure support, resulting in slower pressure
decline. Subsequently, gas reservoirs associated with aquifers show a flattening of the
p/z curve. Figure 1.2 shows p/z curves for gas reservoirs with varying strengths of aquifer
support. In all cases, linear extrapolation of the water-drive cases to determine OGIP
would lead to optimistically high values.

1.4

strength

(p/z)i
(p/z)a

water drive

p/z
(p/z)a
Depletion drive

Gp
Figure 1.2 Water Drive Gas Reservoir p/z Curve
The rate of the gas withdrawal is directly proportional to the ability of water to encroach.
For example, a high withdrawal rate coupled with a strong aquifer could lead to early
coning and/or pockets of trapped gas. Agarwal, et. al, in 1965 attributed the low gas
recovery in water drive reservoirs to the trapped residual gas saturation and a volumetric
displacement efficiency less than unity. They showed that the size and properties of the
aquifer and the withdrawal rates, along with residual gas saturation and volumetric sweep
efficiency impact the ultimate gas recovery and thus are major factors in designing field
development strategy.
When water invades a gas reservoir, the net volume of water influx reduces the gas
volume. The material balance equation must reflect this addition, subsequently, we can
write,
original volume remaining volume net water

=
+

of GIP, rcf of GIP, rcf


influx, rcf
Assuming no injection has occurred, that rock and water compressibility changes are
small and the solubility of gas in the water is negligible, then the general material balance
equation reduces to:

p p Gp
1
(1.4)
= 1
+
We Wp B w
z z i
G GB g

where,
= cumulative water influx into the gas reservoir, rcf
We
Wp
= cumulative water production, rcf [Note: an alternative expression is WpBw
where Bw is the water formation volume factor in rbbl/stb. Then Wp can be expressed in
stb]
Rearranging Eq. (1.4) to solve for gas-in-place results in the following expression,

1.5

G=

G p B g We W p
B g B gi

(1.5)

Early in the producing life of a reservoir, the difference in the denominator is small and
therefore could lead to erroneous values of gas-in-place. Subsequently, to obtain accurate
results, Eq. (1.5) should be used over longer periods of time.
To estimate the ultimate recovery efficiency in a water-drive gas reservoir requires an
estimate of residual or trapped gas saturation. In a water-drive gas reservoir, gas
saturation at abandonment (called residual or trapped) does not equal original gas
saturation: Sgr = Sgt Sgi; therefore,

B gi Sgr p a z i Sgr
= 1

RFwd = 1
(1.6)
B ga Sgi z a p i Sgi

Implicit in the derivation of Equation (1.6) is the assumption that volumetric sweep
efficiency for gas, Ev, is 100%. This assumption is optimistic as frequently the
displacement of gas by water results in unswept, bypassed portions of the reservoir,
increasing the trapped gas saturation. Subsequently, a modified form of Eq. (1.6) is:
B gi Sgr 1 E v

RFwd = 1 E v
+
(1.7)
B ga Sgi
E v
Some published values of residual gas saturation were given by Geffen (1952) and are
shown in Table 1.1 below.
Porous Material
Formation
Sgr, %
Unconsolidated sand
16
Slightly consolidated sand
21
(synthetic)
17
Synthetic consolidated sand Selas Porcelain
Norton Alundum
24
Consolidated sandstones
Wilcox
25
Frio
30-38
Nellie Bly
30-36
Frontier
31-24
Springer
33
Torpedo
34-37
Tensleep
40-50
Limestone
Canyon Reef
50
Table 1.1 Residual gas saturation after waterflood as measured on core plugs
(Geffen,et. al, 1952)

1.6

Example 1.2
The reservoir is the same as described in the previous example except that pressure is
fully maintained at its original value by a strong water drive. Assume that the entire gas
reservoir is swept by water. Given: Sgi = 75% and Sgt = 35%, respectively.
What if Ev = 60%?
Since the pressure is constant for the life of the reservoir, a simplified form of Eq. (1.6)
becomes,
Sgr
= 1 0.35 = 53%
RFwd = 1
Sgi
0.75

Similiarly, if the volumetric sweep efficiency is accounted for, then Eq. (1.7) results in
RFwd = 32%.
Both are much less than typical recovery efficiencies in depletion-drive gas reservoirs.
Note that a partial water drive does not maintain pressure completely, and thus would
allow some gas production by pressure depletion, and recovery efficiency would
improve. In general, recovery efficiency in a gas reservoir is much better under depletiondrive than under water-drive.
A modified material balance for water drive gas reservoirs was proposed by Hower and
Jones (1991) and Schafer, et al (1993) to account for pressure gradients that develop
across the invaded region. Previous theory assumed the invaded zone pressure is
equivalent to the reservoir pressure and is constant. The modified approach accounts for
pressure gradients in the invaded zone due to capillary pressure. The method predicts a
higher pressure at the original reservoir boundary and a much lower pressure in the
uninvaded region of the reservoir. Both water influx calculations and reservoir
performance predictions are influenced by the pressure gradient term.
The pressure drop in the invaded zone is given by the steady state radial flow equation.
141.2q w w ln(ro / rt )
pinv = po pt =
(1.8)
k rw kh
where
po
= pressure at the original reservoir boundary
pt
= pressure at the current reservoir boundary
ro
= radius at the original reservoir boundary
rt
= radius at the current reservoir boundary
The relative permeability to water is evaluated at the endpoint; i.e., at residual gas
saturation; therefore it is not required to obtain the entire relative permeability curve.
The residual gas saturation is assumed constant throughout the entire invaded region.
The water flow rate can be estimated using the water influx term, qw = dWe/dt. The
resulting modified material balance equation becomes:

G p B g = G ( B g B gi ) + Gt ( B gt B g ) + We BwW p

1.7

(1.9)

where Gt is the volume of trapped gas in the invaded region of the reservoir and is a
function of Sgr and average pressure in the invaded region.
Results from the proposed modified material balance method agreed with a numerical
simulation model and demonstrated the influence of relative permeability on the reservoir
performance. Figure 1.3 from Hower and Jones (1991) illustrates the excellent match
with the simulator if a krw = 0.06 is assumed. Also, notice the difference in reservoir
performance between the conventional and modified material balance techniques.

Figure 1.3 Comparison of reservoir performance for conventional and modified material
balance methods and numerical simulation. (Hower and Jones, 1991)
Example 1.3
GWINFLUX is a software application for the modified gas material balance method
provided by GRI. Use the DEMO.DAT file and determine the OGIP.
When applying the material balance equations for oil and gas reservoirs the typical
solution is to rearrange to solve for N and then used to compute OOIP or OGIP at
different times during a reservoir's life. Naturally the results of each calculation vary
somewhat from one time to another. Thus, there are often major questions about the
correct value for OOIP or OGIP, especially if a gas cap or water influx is present.

1.8

A powerful method of removing much of the doubt concerning the accuracy of computed
results was presented by Havlena and Odeh in two papers in 1963 and 1964. The first
paper presents the theory; the second presents field case studies. Havlena and Odeh's
method rearranges the material balance equations into an algebraic form that results in an
equation of a straight line. The procedure requires plotting one variable group versus
another. The shape of the plot and sequence of plotted points provide important insight
into the validity of the assumed reservoir drive mechanism.
The linearized material balance equation for gas reservoirs is:
W B
F
=G+ e w
Et
Et

(1.10)

where G represents the original gas in place at standard conditions, and


F = total net reservoir voidage
F = G p B g + W p Bw

(1.11)

Et = Eg + Ecf = total expansion


Eg = expansion of gas in reservoir
E g = B g B gi

(1.12)

Ecf = connate water and formation expansion * Bgi

S wi c w + c f
Ecf = B gi *
1 S wi

p p
i

(1.13)

Since G and Gp are usually expressed in SCF, the units of Bg and Bgi are in RCF/SCF. A
plot of F/Et vs WeBw/Et should result in a straight line with intercept of G, the original gas
in place, and slope related to water influx (see Figure 1.4).
B

We too small
We correct

F/Et ,stb

We too large

Intercept=G

We Bw
Et

Figure 1.4 Material balance linear plot for gas reservoirs with aquifer support
1.9

To appropriately interpret Figure 1.4, the material balance equation must be coupled with
a water influx model. For example, for the Fetkovich aquifer model, the slope of the
straight line should be equal to one. If not, different aquifer properties must be used.
Others are the unsteady state Van Everdingen and Hurst and steady state Schilthuis water
influx models. In the former, a straight-line slope provides an estimate of the water
influx constant, B. If the data does not plot as a straight line then different aquifer
properties must be estimated. In the latter, the slope is equal to the water influx constant,
k. Further discussion on water influx properties is beyond the scope of this chapter. For
details the reader is directed to the references at the end of this chapter.
The drive indices for a gas reservoir are defined as follows:
Gas drive index:

GDI =

Water drive index:

WDI =

Compressibility drive index:

GE g
G p Bg
We Bw W p Bw
G p Bg

CDI =

GEcf
G p Bg

Where the sum of the drive indices is equal to one.

1.10

(1.14)

(1.15)

(1.16)

Example 1.4
The performance history for a gas reservoir with water influx is given in Table 1.2 below.
Solve for the correct gas-in-place using the linearized method.
time
days
1
31
61
92
123
153
184
214
245
276
304
335
365
396
426
457
488
518
549
579
610
641
670
701
731
762
792
823
854

Gp
Bg
mscf
rbbl/mscf
816
0.837
25299
0.843
52191
0.849
83814
0.855
140817
0.868
210174
0.885
260921
0.894
313742
0.905
392389
0.925
429366
0.930
504400
0.952
618738
0.993
733260
1.035
825832
1.067
909022
1.098
949839
1.104
991534
1.117
1031923
1.132
1074335
1.152
1109657
1.167
1145626
1.185
1196897
1.221
1275411
1.289
1315925
1.316
1353185
1.340
1385369
1.360
1427744
1.407
1463357
1.442
1501825
1.488

Wp
stb
0
0
0
0
16563
37934
54497
75868
108994
120036
144969
183615
221015
259662
297061
335708
385396
396082
478896
516296
554942
571505
612823
651469
688869
721995
754052
853428
958326

Table 1.2 Performance history data for Example 1.4


The example is setup to demonstrate the influence of water influx on identifying the
correct straight line. A cumulative water influx of 831 mbbl, results in a straight line and
estimate of 2.107 Bscf of gas-in-place (See Figure 1.5). A decrease in cumulative water
influx of 484 mbbl. resulted in a concave upwards trend and an increase in cumulative
water influx of 1427 mbbl resulted in a concave downwards trend.
The GDI is approximately constant at 60% and the WDI at 40% for the +2 years of
production history.

1.11

5.0
4.8
4.6

y = 1.0602x + 2.1074

4.4

R = 0.9843

F/Et

4.2
4.0
3.8
3.6
3.4
3.2
3.0
1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

We/Et

Figure 1.5 Influence of water influx on gas material balance for Example 1.4
Note if no connate water and formation expansion occurs, then Eq. (1.10) reduces to Eq.
(1.5), the standard expression for gas material balance with water drive. Also, if the
reservoir drive mechanism is purely by gas expansion (depletion drive), then Eq. (1.10)
reduces to:
F = GEt
(1.17)
A plot of F vs Et should be a straight line through the origin with slope of G.
1.3.2 Abnormally pressured gas reservoirs

In high-pressure, depletion drive type reservoirs formation and fluid compressibility


effects result in a nonlinear p/z vs cumulative plot. Figure 1.6 is a schematic illustrating
this behavior. The rate of decrease of pressure during the early time is reduced due to
support of these compressibility components. Extrapolation of this initial slope will
result in an overestimation of gas-in-place and reserves. As pressure reduces to a normal
gradient, the formation compaction influence on the reservoir becomes negligible and
thus the remaining energy comes from the expansion of the gas in the reservoir. This
accounts for the second slope in Figure 1.6.

1.12

Gas expansion
+
Formation compaction
+
Water expansion

(p/z)i

p/z
Gas expansion

Overestimate of G

Gp
Figure 1.6 nonlinear p/z vs Gp plot due to formation and water compressibility effects.
Assuming no water influx or production and no injection, then the general material
balance equation (1.3) reduces to:

Gp
1

G
p

=
z 1 c e( p ) ( p i p )

pi
zi

(1.18)

where ce(p) is a pressure-dependent effective compressibility term. An early definition of


ce(p) by Ramagost and Farshad (1981) where in terms of constant pore and water
compressibilities.
c S + cf
c e = w wi
(1.19)
(1 S wi )
Average values were assumed thus removing the complication of pressure dependency.
To determine gas-in-place, the p/z term (y-axis) is linearized by plotting,
p (c w S wi + c f )(p i p)
1
vs G p
z
(1 S wi )

Example 1.5
Estimate the original gas-in-place for the data given by Duggan (1972) for the Anderson
L sand. Apply both the conventional and geopressured material balance equations.
Given:
= 9,507 psia
pi
= 3.2 x 10-6 psi-1
cw
Swi
= 0.24
= 19.5 x 10-6 psi-1
cf
Original pressure gradient = 0.843 psi/ft

1.13

p,psia
9507
9292
8970
8595
8332
8009
7603
7406
7002
6721
6535
5764
4766
4295
3750
3247

z
1.440
1.418
1.387
1.344
1.316
1.282
1.239
1.218
1.176
1.147
1.127
1.048
0.977
0.928
0.891
0.854

Gp,Bcf
0
0.3925
1.6425
3.2258
4.2603
5.5035
7.5381
8.7492
10.5093
11.7589
12.7892
17.2625
22.8908
28.1446
32.5667
36.8199

Figure 1.7 displays the results of the conventional material balance. Gas-in-place is
estimated to be 89.3 Bcf.
Volumetric (normal pressured)
8000
y = -74.679x + 6667.5
R2 = 0.9929

7000

p/z, psia

6000
5000
4000
3000

G=89.3

2000
1000
0
0

20

40

60

80

100

Gp, Bcf

Figure 1.7 Conventional material balance solution for Example 1.5


Figure 1.8 shows the results when using the geopressured approach. The resulting gasin-place is 70.7 Bscf. Thus if the conventional approach is taken, the gas-in-place will be
overestimated by more than 25%.

1.14

Volumetric (geopressured)

modified p/z, psia

7000
y = -92.336x + 6532.2
R2 = 0.9979

6000
5000
4000
3000

G=70.7

2000
1000
0
0

20

40

60

80

100

Gp, Bcf

Figure 1.8 High-pressure material balance solution for Example 1.5


The above example assumed that formation compressibility was both known and
constant. However, frequently formation compressibility varies during pressure
depletion, and is difficult to obtain in the laboratory. Roach (1981) developed a material
balance technique for simultaneously estimating formation compressibility and gas-inplace and was later applied by Poston and Chen (1987) to the Anderson L example. The
revised material balance equation is:
1 p i z 1 G p p i z S wi c w + c f

(1.20)

1 =
(p i p ) pz i G (p i p ) pz i
1 S wi

If the formation compressibility is constant then a straight line will develop with a slope
= 1/G and an intercept = -(Swicw + cf)/(1-Swi).
Example 1.6
Repeat example 1.5 and estimate both gas-in-place and formation compressibility.
Figure 1.9 shows the results from this analysis. The original gas-in-place is estimated
from the slope,
1000
G=
= 75.8 Bscf
13.199
and the formation compressibility from the intercept,
c f = bx106 (1 S wi ) S wi cw = 12.5 x106 psi 1
The deviation from the straight line at early time is due to the pore fluids supporting the
overburden pressure. However, as fluids are withdrawn the formation compacts, thus
transferring more of the support on the rock matrix.

1.15

Geopressured
150

100

y, psi 1

y = 13.199x - 17.511
R2 = 0.993

50

0
0

10

12

14

x, mmscf/psi

Figure 1.9 Simultaneous solution of gas-in-place and formation compressibility for a


volumetric geo-pressured gas reservoir, Example 1.6
Fetkovich, et al. in 1991 further expanded the effective compressibility term by including
both gas solubility and total water associated with the gas reservoir volume. The
resulting expression accounts for pressure dependency.
ctw( p) S wi + c f ( p) + M [ctw( p ) + c f ( p) ]
ce( p ) =
(1.21)
(1 S wi )
The cumulative total water compressibility, ctw, is composed of water expansion due to
pressure depletion and the release of solution gas in the water and its expansion. The
associated water-volume ratio, M accounts for the total pore and water volumes in
pressure communication with the gas reservoir. This includes non-net pay water and pore
volumes such as in interbedded shales and shaly sands, and external water volume found
in limited aquifers. The authors defined both terms as:
M = M NNP + M aq
=

2
r

(
)

h
aq
aq

+
1

(h ) r
r r

nnp 1 hn / hg

r hn / hg

(1.22)

where
nnp
r
aq
hn/hg

- non-net pay property


- reservoir (net pay) property
- aquifer property
- net to gross ratio

The proposed method of obtaining gas-in-place requires a trial and error solution.
Historical pressure and production data is coupled with an assumed gas-in-place value to
1.16

back-calculate values of effective compressibility from a rearranged material balance


equation.
(p / z )i G p 1
1

(c e )backcalculated = 1
(1.23)
(p / z ) G (p i p )

The effective compressibility from Eq. (1.23) can be plotted as a function of pressure,
and compared to values determined from rock and fluid properties in Eq. (1.21). A
reasonable fit between the two methods provides an estimate of gas-in-place and a
measure of physical significance to the results.
Example 1.7
Fetkovich, et al tested their method on the Anderson L sand data from Duggan (1971).
Additionally, they calculated total water compressibility as a function of pressure. Using
their values of ctw, a G = 72 Bscf, cf = 3.2 x 10 -6 psi -1, and M = 2.25, the following
results were obtained.

ce, psi 1

50
45

ce(p) generated from rock &


w ater properties

40
35
30
25
20
15
10

ce(back) assuming OGIP

5
0
0

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

pressure, psia

Figure 1.10 Comparison of back-calculated effective compressibility assuming OGIP


with the rock and fluid property derived values.
Figure 1.10 shows best fit results after varying M, cf, and G, respectively. (The authors
also varied Swi and decided on Swi = 0.35. In Fig 1.10 the original Swi = 0.24 was
maintained.)
Figure 1.11 shows the performance match and prediction using the
variables listed above. The estimated gas-in-place of 72 Bcf is within the range of the
previous methods. Notice the first data points at high pressure in Figure 1.10 do not fit
the correlation drawn. These points correspond to the same data points which deviate
from the straight line in Figure 1.9, and thus the same explanation is believed valid for
this method as well.
The disadvantages of the Fetkovich, et al method are the requirement of rock and water
properties to build the effective compressibility correlation, the assumption that cf is
constant, and the non-uniqueness of the solution since multiple combinations of the
1.17

variables can yield the same outcome. The advantage is the addition of the pressure
dependency of the water compressibility and the development of a physical basis for the
analysis.
7000

historical performance data


model

6000

p/z, psia

5000
4000
3000
2000
1000
0
0

20

40

60

100

80

Gp, Bscf
Figure 1.11 Performance match and prediction for the Anderson L reservoir.

1.3.3 Low permeability gas reservoirs

Gas material balance in conventional, volumetric reservoirs is described by a linear


relationship between pressure/z-factor (p/z) and cumulative production. Unfortunately,
tight gas reservoirs do not exhibit this type of behavior, but instead develop a nonlinear
trend (see Figure 1.12), which is not amenable to conventional analysis.

(p/z)i

p/z

(p/z)int

m ?
2 =
m

1
Tig
ht g
as r
e

Co
nv

en
tio
na
lr
esp
spo
on
nse
se

Gp

Figure 1.12 P/z response for conventional gas reservoir and a tight gas reservoir.
1.18

The nonlinear trend is a function both of the pressure measurement technique and the
reservoir characteristics. Typical shut in periods are not of sufficient duration to achieve
a representative average reservoir pressure. This concept can be reinforced by examining
the criteria for reaching pseudosteady state flow.
t

pss

= 3790

i cti A
k

DApss

(1.24)

Assuming a well located in the center of the drainage area and substituting typical
reservoir and gas properties for a tight gas formation ( = 11%, k = 0.1 md, gi = 0.012
cp., cti = 0.001 psi-1), results in a time to reach pseudosteady state of 2 years for an 80acre drainage area and 16 years for a 640-acre drainage area. Subsequently, a single
buildup pressure measurement after seven days of shut in will not achieve such a
boundary condition.
To analyze low-permeability reservoirs the following constraints are applied: (1) no
water influx, (2) constant reservoir temperature, (3) no rock compressibility effects, and
(4) only single phase dry gas; i.e., no phase changes occur in the reservoir. Furthermore,
to simplify the analysis the bottomhole flowing pressure will be assumed to be constant
over the life of the well. A reasonable assumption for dry gas wells controlled by surface
line pressure.
Referring to Figure 1.12, three trends are exhibited on the p/z plots for low permeability
reservoirs. During the early time period a rapid decrease in pressure occurs. If this trend
is extrapolated to p/z = 0, the gas-in-place (G) will be seriously underestimated. The
behavior has been previously explained as the response to transient flow (Slider, 1983);
however, additional analysis did not confirm this hypothesis. An alternative solution is
the rapid depletion of a stimulated well in a reservoir consisting of a natural fracture
network; in simple terms, the flush production associated with such a condition. Coupled
with this behavior is the inability of the pressure measurement technique to capture
reservoir pressure within the testing time. Subsequently, as the drainage radius is
expanding the testing pressure deviates more and more from the average reservoir
pressure.
The intermediate period exhibits uniform slope over an extended period of time, even
though, the magnitude of the pressure measurement observed is significantly below the
average reservoir pressure. During this period, the test time is too short to capture the
average pressure response; however, consistency of the data suggests that a similar region
is being repeatedly investigated by the pressure test. For example, notice in Figure 1.13
the difference in pws and pr is approximately constant for an extended period of time.
Several researchers (Stewart,1970) (Brons and Miller, 1961) have presented methods to
correct measured data to average reservoir pressure by pressure buildup techniques.

1.19

Pi

ri

Pwf

.472re
rw

re

Figure 1.13 Schematic of a partial buildup response in a tight gas reservoir, indicating the
difference in measured pws and average reservoir pressure, pr.
The constant slope provides an opportunity to estimate the hydrocarbon-pore volume,
Vhc. Defining the slope (m) as;
m=

(p / z)
G p

(1.25)

and substituting into the gas material balance equation, results in an expression to
determine Vhc.
TP
1
Vhc = sc *
Tsc m

(1.26)

Vhc = 43560Ah(1 S w )

(1.27)

From volumetrics,

thus providing a method to determine the drainage area.


Furthermore, from the observation of a constant slope, three scenarios can be developed
to determine the gas-in-place as illustrated in Figure 1.14. The problem is defining the
relationship between the determined slope and the actual slope if one could measure the
actual reservoir pressure. Case A exhibits two parallel trends of constant slope; i.e., m1 =
m2. Gas-in-place can readily be obtained from,
p
G= i
z
i

1
*
m

(1.28)

The difference in gas-in-place between the two lines is due to the initial reservoir
pressure difference; and not the hydrocarbon pore volume, which is the same for both
lines.
1.20

m2

Case A
m

P/zz
P/

Case C
P/z

=m

Gp

G 1 G2

Gp

m
m11
mm
22
G 1 G 2

Case B
(p/z)int

P/z

Gp

G1= G2

Figure 1.14. Three possible relationships between the conventional response and the tight
gas response.
To have equal slopes suggests the radius of investigation of the pressure test is expanding
at the same rate as the radius of drainage of the reservoir. That is, ri constant* re over
an extended period of time. The magnitude of gas-in-place will be overestimated by this
method and therefore provides an upper bound to the well.
In case B the slopes are different, but the intersection point occurs at the same gas-inplace. Estimation of G is obtained by,
1 pi
p
G= *
=
z int m1 zi

1
*
m
2

(1.29)

where the (p/z)int is the intercept value from the identified pressure trend. To solve for
the correct Vhc requires the substitution of m2 into Eq. (1.26). Subsequently, the
hydrocarbon pore volume is corrected to reflect the difference in reservoir pressures. For
this behavior to occur means the investigative volume seen during subsequent pressure
tests is approaching the average drainage volume of the well. In other words, ri
0.472re. This is as expected for depleted reservoirs where the pressure gradient is
approximately uniform throughout the reservoir.

1.21

The third and final scenario (Case C) exhibits both a different slope and intercept
between the measured pressure trend and the actual reservoir behavior. Unfortunately,
the measured data does not reflect the actual reservoir behavior. The best is to estimate a
range for gas-in-place using Case A as the upper bound and case B as the lower bound.
A final stage of the life of the well occurs when depletion has been significant (see Fig.
1.12). At this time the measured pressure curve flattens and becomes constant;
converging to the actual average reservoir pressure. In many cases the gas-in-place was
estimated by extending a straight line from the initial p/z point through this late time
point. Experience has shown this method typically underestimates gas-in-place, due to
the late time measured pressure slightly underpredicting the actual reservoir pressure.
Also, as Fetkovich, et.al. (1987) correctly point out, a rise in pressure can be a rebound
effect due to a decrease in withdrawal from the reservoir.
Example 1.8
The example well produces from the Pictured Cliffs sandstone in the San Juan Basin of
northwest New Mexico. Picture Cliffs is a low permeability, sandstone to shaly sandstone
gas reservoir found at a depth of approximately 3200 feet and developed on 160 acre
spacing (Dutton, et al, 1983). The example well (No.114) was initially completed in
1958 and included a hydraulic fracture treatment to be commercially productive. Other
well and reservoir data are listed below. The long history of production and pressure data
make this well an excellent candidate for investigation.
11

0.0134
gi, cp
h, ft
40
-1
-4
cti, psi x 10
5.77
0.67
g
Tr , deg F
106
Sw, %
44
rw, ft.
0.229
Pi, psi
1131
Table 1.3 Input well and reservoir properties
Figure 1.15 is the p/z vs cumulative production plot for this well. In the San Juan Basin,
pressure data is recorded over a 7-day shut in period and reported annually until 1974 and
every other year until 1990. The primary purpose of collecting this information was for
deliverability testing and proration. Notice the typical tight gas well response of a rapid
decrease in pressure within the first year. This behavior does not correspond to the end
of the transient period, which occurs 8 to 10 years later according to decline curve
analysis. The majority of time and hence cumulative production exhibits case B
behavior; i.e., constant p/z decline. Applying Eq. (1.29) this trend results in an estimate
of 660 mmscf of gas-in-place.

1.22

P/Z vs. Cumulative Production


No. 114
1600
1400

P/Z, psia

1200
1000
800
600
400
y = -0.8367x + 552.88
R2 = 0.958

200
0
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

Cumulative Production, mmscf

Figure 1.15. Field example of tight gas response (Case B) on p/z plot and estimation of
gas-in-place.
Also shown on Figure 1.15 is an extrapolation between the initial p/z and the anomalous
increase in p/z found in the latest data points; resulting in 520 mmscf of gas-in-place.
Frequently this extrapolation is applied to tight gas wells to estimate gas-in-place and
recovery. The validity of the last points is pivotal to this method being successful or not.
These pressure points were acquired during a time of extended cycles of shutin and
production due to external constraints. The resulting bottomhole flowing pressure is
increased which subsequently translates into an increase in recorded shutin bottomhole
pressure. This is the same conclusion as drawn by Fetkovich, et al. in 1987. Unless this
pressure data is obtained very late in the life of the well it is likely this method will
underestimate gas-in-place and reserves.
Cumulative production (through 2006) for this well is 526 mmscf; therefore 80% of the
gas-in-place has been recovered. A rate cumulative plot (Figure 1.16) also provides a
linear trend, which when extrapolated results in gas-in-place of 700 mmscf or 75%
recovery. Both methods are within reasonable agreement.

1.23

4500

flow rate, mscf/month

4000
3500
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

Cumulative production, mmscf

Figure 1.16. Extrapolation of Rate cumulative trend for gas-in-place.


A key to tight gas development is the drainage area of existing wells and the feasibility of
infill drilling. Using Equation (1.29) to adjust the slope, the hydrocarbon pore volume is
calculated to be 7.544 mmrcf. Substitution of the known gas and well properties results
in a drainage area calculation of 70 acres.
To further investigate the tight gas, pressure behavior, a single well, simulation model
was developed for single-phase flow. As a simplification, the reservoir properties were
assumed to be homogeneous and isotropic. The well was bottomhole pressure
constrained, initially at 250 psi and then reduced to 150 psi ten years later. This change
reflects the actual pressures measured during the annual deliverability tests. Figure 1.17
illustrates the excellent match between the results from the simulator with the measured
data for both gas rate and shutin bottomhole pressure. The success of the model verifies
the linear trends seen on the gas material balance plots and the slow pressure response of
tight gas reservoirs. Furthermore, to obtain this match the areal extent of the simulation
model was 86 acres, which is in agreement with the previous methods.
The analysis suggests this well has drained 70 to 90 acres of the dedicated 160-acre
proration unit and has recovered approximately 70% of the gas-in-place within that
volume. The paradox is the boundary-dominated flow exhibited by the decline curve.
The nearest well is approximately 1850 feet away from the subject well, farther than the
estimated drainage area. Two explanations can be given. First, the drainage calculations
are based on isotropic conditions and therefore a circular drainage pattern. However, if
anisotropy exists, then the two wells are sufficiently close enough to provide interference.
Investigation of production and geological trends show a dominant northwest/southeast
direction, the exact direction of these two wells. Second, a thinning of the reservoir net
pay thickness over the areal extent of this well would increase the drainage area. For
example if thickness is reduced by half then the drainage area doubles to approximately
160 acres.

1.24

1000

1200
1000

measured
100

800
600

10

SIBHP, psi

production rate, mscf/mo

simulated

400
200

0
0

10

15

20

25

time, years

Figure 1.17 Comparison of simulation results with measured data for Pictured Cliffs
example.

1.25

References
Agarwal, R.G., Al-Hussainy, R. and Ramey, Jr., H.J.: The Importance of Water Influx in
Gas Reservoirs, JPT (Mar. 1965).
Brons,F and Miller, W.C.:A Simple Method for Correcting Spot Pressure Readings,
(1961) Trans., AIME 222, 803-805.
Carter,R.D. and Tracy, G.W.: An Improved Method for Calculating Water Influx, JPT,
(Dec. 1960)
Duggan, J.O. The Anderson L An Abnormally Pressured Gas Reservoir in South
Texas, JPT 24, No. 2, pp. 132-138, (Feb. 1972).
Dutton,S.P., Clift,S.J., Hamilton,D.S., Hamlin,H.S., Hentz, T.F., Howard, W.E.,
Akhter,M.S., and Laubach,S.E.: Major Low Permeability Sandstone Gas Reservoirs in
the Continental United States, GRI/BEG Report No. 211 (1993)
Engler, T.W.: A New Approach to Gas Material Balance in Tight Gas Reservoirs, SPE
# 62883, presented at the ATCE in Dallas, TX (2000).
Fetkovich, M.J.: A Simplified Approach to Water Influx Calculations- Finite Aquifer
Systems, JPT, (July 1971), p814.
Fetkovich,M.J., Vienot,M.E., Bradley,M.D. and Kiesow, U.G. : Decline-Curve Analysis
Using Type Curves-Case Histories, SPEFE (Dec. 1987) 637-656.
Fetkovich, M.J., Reese, D.E. and Whitson, C.H.: Application of a General Material
Balance for High-Pressure Gas Reservoirs, SPE 22921, presented at the ATCE in
Dallas, TX. (October 1991)
Geffen, T.M., Parrish, D.R., Haynes, G.W., and Morse, R.A.: Efficiency of Gas
Displacement from Porous Media by Liquid Flooding, Trans AIME 195, pp 29-38
(1952).
Hammerlindl, D.J. Predicting Gas Reserves in Abnormally Pressure Reservoirs, paper
presented at the SPE ATCE in New Orleans, La., (Oct 1971).
Havlena, D. and Odeh, A.S.: The Material Balance as an Equation of a Straight Line,
Trans. AIME Part 1: 228 I-896 (1963), Part 2: 231 I-815 (1964).
Hower, T.L. and Jones, R.E.: Predicting Recovery of Gas Reservoirs Under Waterdrive
Conditions, SPE 22937, presented at the ATCE in Dallas, TX (Oct. 1991)

1.26

Ikoku, C.U.: Natural Gas Reservoir Engineering, Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, FL
(1992)
Lee, J. and Wattenbarger, R.A.: Gas Reservoir Engineering, SPE Textbook Series, Vol 5,
Richardson, TX 1996.
Poston, S. W. and Chen, H-Y.: Simultaneous Determination of Formation
Compressibility and Gas-in-Place in Abnormally Pressured Reservoirs, SPE 16227
presented at the 1987 Production Operations Symposium in OKC, OK (March 1987).
Ramagost, B.P. and Farshad, F.F: p/z Abnormal Pressured Gas Reservoirs, SPE 10125,
presented at the ATCE in San Antonio, TX (Oct. 1981).
Roach, R.H. :Analyzing Geopressured Reservoirs A Material Balance Technique,
SPE paper 9968, Dallas, Tx, (Dec. 1981).
Schafer, P.S., Hower, T.L., and Owens, R.W.: Managing Water-Drive Gas Reservoirs,
published by GRI (1993)
Slider,H.C.: Worldwide Practical Petroleum Reservoir Engineering Methods, Pennwell
Publishing, Tulsa, OK (1983)
Stewart,P.R.: Low-Permeability Gas Well Performance at Constant Pressure, JPT,
(Sept. 1970) 1149-1156.
Van Everdingen, A.F. and Hurst, W.: Application of the Laplace Transform to Flow
Problems in Reservoirs, Trans AIME 186, pp 305-324, (1949)

1.27

Problems

1. One well has been drilled in a volumetric (closed) gas reservoir, and from this well
the following information was obtained:
Initial reservoir temperature, Ti
Initial reservoir pressure, pi
Specific gravity of gas, g
Thickness of reservoir, h
Porosity of the reservoir,
Initial water saturation,

= 175F
= 3000 psia
= 0. 60 (air = 1)
= 10 ft
= 10%
Swi = 35%

After producing 400 MMscf the reservoir pressure declined to 2000 psia. Estimate the
areal extent of this reservoir.
2. Reservoir temperature is 180F. Reservoir pressure has declined from 3400 to 2400
psia while producing 550 MMscf. Standard conditions are 16 psia and 80F. Gas
gravity is 0.66. Assuming a volumetric reservoir, calculate the initial gas-in-place and
the remaining reserves to an abandonment pressure of 500 psia, all at the given
standard conditions.
3. A gas field with an active water drive showed a pressure decline from 3000 to 2000
psia over a 10-month period. From the following production data, match the past
history and calculate the original hydrocarbon gas in the reservoir. Assume z = 0.8 in
the range of reservoir pressures and T = 600F.
time
months
0.0
2.5
5.0
7.5
10.0

p
psia
3000
2750
2500
2250
2000

Gp
mmscf
0.0
97.6
218.9
355.4
500.0

4. The material balance plot below is for Well No .88, completed in the Picture Cliffs
Formation in the San Juan Basin as described in Example 1.4. Well and reservoir
properties are given below.
11
, %
0.0131
gi, cp
h, ft
67
cti, psi-1 x 10-4
6.22
0.67
g
Tr , deg F
103
Sw, %
44
rw, ft.
0.229
Pi, psi
1045

1.28

Estimate the gas-in-place and drainage area for this well. If cumulative production
was 752 mmscf, what has been the recovery factor?
1400
1200

p/z, psia

1000
800
600
400
200
0
0

200

400

600

800

1000

cumulative production, mmscf

5. Ramagost and Farshad (1981) provided the following information for an offshore
Louisiana gas reservoir.
= 11,444 psia
pi
= 19.5 x 10-6 psia-1
cf
Swi
= 0.22
= 3.2 x10-6 psia-1
cw
p,psia
11444
10674
10131
9253
8574
7906
7380
6847
6388
5827
5409
5000
4500
4170

z
1.496
1.438
1.397
1.330
1.280
1.230
1.192
1.154
1.122
1.084
1.054
1.033
1.005
0.988

Gp,Bcf
0
9.92
28.62
53.60
77.67
101.42
120.36
145.01
160.63
182.34
197.73
215.66
235.74
245.90

p/z
7650
7423
7252
6957
6698
6428
6191
5933
5693
5375
5132
4840
4478
4221

Estimate the original gas-in-place


a. assuming a normally pressured gas reservoir
b. assuming a geopressured reservoir and known cf
c. assuming a geopressured reservoir with an unknown, but constant cf.

1.29